"STRINGENT" new measures for patients, staff and visitors have been introduced at Fairfield General Hospital to help tackle coronavirus.

The raft of bio security and infection control procedures will affect areas including access to the hospital and the PPE people are required to wear.

They were brought into force at Fairfield and three other hospitals run by the Northern Care Alliance (NCA) this week.

The NCA said the measures are intended to keep infection rates down, and ensure patients and staff remain safe, as the hospital starts to "return services to normal".

Dr Chris Brookes, chief medical officer at the NCA said: "This new system is a way of politely making sure that patients and visitors have an appropriate reason to be on our site.

"This is all part of the new normal and everybody has a responsibility to follow the measures."

Under the measures, separate entrance points for patients, visitors and staff ­— manned by security ­— have been set up at the hospital to prevent potential exposure to Covid-19.

Some smaller entrances have also been locked and staff will be required to show ID to enter.

Anyone entering or inside the hospital and its grounds will be asked to observe social distancing ­— including when they are queueing.

Staff and patients will also be requested to use hand sanitiser on entry to the hospital to prevent the spread of the virus.

And some staff will be asked to wear the level of PPE recommended for their role before entering any clinical areas.

The NCA said these measures ­— which have also been introduced at Salford Royal, The Royal Oldham and Rochdale Infirmary ­— are intended to recognise that "the prevalence and risk of Covid-19 spreading is still with us and very real".

It comes as the NHS group says it is entering a "period of recovery and stabilisation".

During this time it expects more patients will be attending Fairfield and other hospitals for elective and outpatient appointments.

"These steps will ensure this return to normality is done as safely as possible," NHS group's bosses said.

Dr Brookes added: “The safety and wellbeing of everyone is the NCA’s top priority.

"We all have a responsibility to work together to ensure our hospitals are safe and secure for our patients, ourselves and for each other.

“We want everyone to be safe, and feel safe, across our hospitals, whether you are at work or in our care.”